Ships of the United States Navy
Ships in current service
Ships grouped alphabetically
Ships grouped by type
USS Constitution in 1997

This is a list of sailing frigates of the United States Navy. Frigates were the backbone of the early Navy, although the list shows that many suffered unfortunate fates.

The sailing frigates of the United States built from 1797 on were unique in that their framing was made of American live oak, a particularly hardy genus that made very resilient hulls; as a result of this, the ships were known to withstand damage that would have scuppered frigates of other nations. American frigates were also very heavily armed; the USN's 44s carried 24-pound cannon as opposed to the 18-pounders usual in frigates, and like most ships of the period carried more than their nominal rate, 56 guns or more. On the other hand, the USN classed ships with 20 to 26 guns as "third-class frigates", whereas the Royal Navy did not.

Continental Navy

Congress authorized 3 frigates of 18, 13 frigates of 12 ( 5 of 32, 5 of 28 and 3 of 24)

Name Class Rate[1] Dates of service Fate
Alliance[2] Alliance-class[3] 36 1778–1785[2] abandoned near Philadelphia[2]
Bonhomme Richard[4] Massiac-class[4] 42 1779–1779[4] sank after taking Serapis[4]
Boston[3] Boston-class[3] 24 1777–1780[3] captured by the British[3]
Bourbon Alliance-class 36 1783 never completed
Bricole 36 1764 built in France, Le Havre
Confederacy Alliance-class 36 1778–1781 captured by the British
Congress (II) 28 1776–1777 never completed
Deane 24 1778–1783 built in France,Nantes
Delaware 24 1776–1777 captured by the British
Effingham 28 1777 never completed
Fox Enterprise-class 28 7 June 1777 – 8 July 1777 captured by Hancock and Boston in June 1777, recaptured by HMS Flora
Hancock[3] Hancock-class[3] 32 1776–1777[3] captured by the British[3]
Montgomery 24 1776–1777 destroyed to prevent capture, Hudson River
Protector [1] 26 1779–1781 captured, become HMS Hussar 1781; 20 guns 586 tons
Providence Providence-class 28 1776–1780 captured by the British, Charleston, South Carolina
Queen of France 28 1777–1780 sunk to avoid capture by the British
Raleigh Hancock-class 32 1776–1778 captured by the British, Matinicus Isle, Maine
Randolph[3] Randolph-class 32 1776–1778[3] exploded in battle, 311 killed[3]
Serapis[3] Roebuck-class 44 1779–1781[2] transferred to the French
South Carolina 40 1777–1782 built in Holland, biggest war-ship
Truite 26 1779–1780 built in France, Le Havre
Trumbull Providence-class 28 1776–1781 captured by the British
Virginia 28 1776–1778 captured by the British
Warren[3] Randolph-class[3] 32 1776–1779[3] destroyed to prevent capture, Penobscot Expedition[3]
Washington Randolph-class 32 1776–1777 destroyed to prevent capture, Philadelphia

United States Navy

Name Type Rate[1] Class Dates of service Fate
Adams[3] 2nd class[5] 28 1799–1814[3] scuttled and burned to prevent capture[3]
Baltimore 3rd class 32 1798–1801 sold
Boston[3] 2nd class[5] 28 1799–1814[3] burned to prevent capture[3]
Brandywine[6][7] 1st class[6] 50 Potomac-class[8] 1825–1864[9] destroyed by fire[9]
Chesapeake[2] 2nd class[5] 36 (38) United States-class[2] 1800–1813[2] captured by the British[2]
Columbia[9] 1st class[6] 44 Guerriere-class[10] 1813–1814[9] burned on the stocks to prevent capture[9]
Columbia[6] 1st class[6] 50 Potomac-class[8] 1838–1861 scuttled and burned to prevent capture
Congress[2] 2nd class[11] 36 (38) United States-class[2] 1799–1834[2] broken up[2]
Congress[12] 1st class[12] 52 1841–1862[10] burned and sank after action with CSS Virginia[10]
Connecticut 3rd class 24 1799–1801 sold
Constellation[2] 2nd class[11] 36 (38) United States-class[2] 1797–1853[2] broken up
Constitution[2] 1st class[11] 44 United States-class[2] 1797[3] to date remains in commission
Cumberland[6] 1st class[6] 50 Potomac-class[8] 1842–1855 converted to sloop 1855
sunk by CSS Virginia 1862
Cyane 3rd class 22 Banterer-class 1815–1836[13] broken up
Delaware 3rd class[14] 20 1798–1801 sold
Essex[3] 2nd class[15] 32 1799–1814[3] captured by the British[3]
Ganges 3rd class[16] 24 1798–1801 sold
General Greene[3] 2nd class 30 1799–1805[3] hulked; destroyed by fire 1814[3]
George Washington 3rd class[14] 24 1798–1802 sold
Guerriere[11] 1st class[11] 44 Guerriere-class[10] 1814–1841[10] broken up[10]
Hudson[17] 1st class[17] 44 1828–1844[9] broken up[9]
Independence[12] 1st class[12] 54 1836–1912 Built 1814 as a 90-gun ship-of-the-line, razeed 1836, scrapped 1915 at San Francisco.
Insurgent[9] 2nd class[9] 32 Sémillante-class[18] 1799–1800[9] lost at sea with all hands[9]
Java[10] 1st class[11] 44 Guerriere-class[10] 1814–1842[10] broken up, Norfolk, Virginia[10]
John Adams[3] 2nd class 28 1799–1867[3] razeed to 20-gun corvette 1807; rebuilt as 24-gun frigate 1812
Macedonian[11] 2nd class[11] 38 Lively-class[19][20] 1812–1828 broken up, Norfolk, Virginia
Macedonian[6] 2nd class[6] 36 1836–1852 razeed to sloop-of war, 1852
sold 1871
Merrimack 3rd class 24 1798–1801 sold
Mohawk[8] 2nd class 38 1814–1823[8] sunk[8]
Montezuma 3rd class[14] 20 1798–1799 sold
New York[3] 2nd class[5] 36 1800–1814[3] burned by the British[3]
Philadelphia[3] 1st class[21] 44 (36)[22] 1799–1804[3] captured by Tripoli[3]
boarded and burned by Stephen Decatur[3]
Plattsburg[8] 1st class 64 1814–1825[8] sold on ways[8]
Portsmouth 3rd class 24 1798–1801 sold
Potomac[11] 1st class[11] 50 Potomac-class[8] 1831–1877 sold
President[2] 1st class[5] 44 United States-class[2] 1800–1815[2] captured by the British[2]
Raritan[6] 1st class[6] 50 Potomac-class[8] 1843–1861 destroyed to prevent capture
Sabine[6] 1st class[6] 52 Sabine-class[8] 1855–1883 sold
Santee[8] 1st class[12] 52 Sabine-class[8] 1855–1912[9] sank at moorings[9]
Savannah[6] 1st class[6] 50 Potomac-class[8] 1844–1857 converted to sloop 1857
sold 1883
St. Lawrence[6] 1st class[6] 50 Potomac-class[8] 1848–1875 sold
Superior[9] 1st class 50 1814–1825[8] sold[9]
Trumbull 3rd class 24 1799–1801 sold
United States[2] 1st class[11] 44 United States-class[2] 1797–1861[2]
broken up for scrap
Warren 3rd class 24 1799–1801 sold
Ten additional ships of the Potomac class were appropriated, but never built.

See also



  1. ^ a b Nominal rating; actual armament was generally greater
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Silverstone, Paul H. (2001). The Sailing Navy, 1775–1854. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-893-5.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an Bauer, Karl Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775–1990. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-26202-9.
  4. ^ a b c d Boudroit, Jean; Roberts, David H. (1987). John Paul Jones and the Bonhomme Richard: A Reconstruction of the Ship and an Account of the Battle With H.M.S. Serapis. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-892-7.
  5. ^ a b c d e Griffis, William Elliot (2009). Matthew Calbraith Perry: A Typical American Naval Officer. BiblioLife. ISBN 978-1-103-04626-3.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "New York Gazette & General Advertiser". New York Journal of Commerce (19 December). December 1832.
  7. ^ Laid down as Susquehanna
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Bauer, K. Jack (1991). Register of Ships of the US Navy, 1775–1990: Major Combatants. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-26202-9.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Canny, Donald L. (2001). Sailing Warships of the US Navy. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-990-1.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain.
  12. ^ a b c d e Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the Navy of the United States, including Officers of the Marine Corps, and other, for the Year 1852.
  13. ^ ex-HMS Cyane, captured by Constitution 1815
  14. ^ a b c Purchased merchant ship
  15. ^ Brownell, Henry Howard (1863). North and South America Illustrated: The English in America. Hollbert, Williams, & Company.
  16. ^ ex-Indiaman
  17. ^ a b Williams, Edwin (1836). The New-York Annual Register for the Year of Our Lord 1836. Edwin Williams.
  18. ^ ex-L'Insurgente, captured by Constellation 1799
  19. ^ De Kay, James Tertius (2000). Chronicles of the Frigate Macedonian, 1809–1922. W. W. Norton & Co. ISBN 978-0-393-32024-4.
  20. ^ ex-HMS Macedonian, captured by United States 1812
  21. ^ McKee, Christopher (1996). Edward Preble: A Naval Biography. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-583-5.
  22. ^ re-rated 1803